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Rural Heath Care Lacking Says Report

May 5th, 2009

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health care in rural areas is facing cost and availability difficulties, making it an even more dire problem than in urban settings.

“Americans in rural communities have seen their premiums skyrocket and are finding it difficult, if not impossible to get the care they need,” says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In addition, the findings also indicate that many rural residents pay 40% of their total health care costs, as compared with the urban share of one-third.

Rural Americans face higher rates of poverty, report more health problems, are more likely to be uninsured, and have less access to a primary health care provider than do Americans living in urban areas, the report indicates.

“In the current recession, the rural economy is losing jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the nation, and loss of jobs can lead to loss of health coverage. In particular, rural communities dependent on manufacturing have lost nearly 5 percent of their jobs since the recession began – and these are jobs that offer some of the best benefits,” says the report.

If you’re a rural health care provider, what steps are you taking to combat the issues raised in the HHS report? Is your practice making changes to make health care more affordable in the recession?

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